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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a lot of experience loading handgun ammo, but I am very new to loading rifle (only have a little time doing 6.5 Swed at this point).

Since I am building my 700 to be as accurate as possible (of course) I am wanting to get a proper measurement for the OAL on my rifle chamber before I start reloading.

First: Is the Hornady Lock-N-Load OAL gauge is effective? http://www.hornady.com/store/Lock-N-Load-OAL-Gauge-Straight-1Each/



Second: If not, what do you use (if anything)?

Third: What is the typical round-count between measurements?
 

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I have a buddy of mine that swears by it. Me personally, I just experimented till I found an oal that gave me the best accuracy. If your going to do the test and shoot method make sure you make small adjustments.
 

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I bought one some years ago and thought it would be neat. Problem is they use a weird thread so you have to buy the dummy cartridges from them. I ended up making my own from an old RCBS primer tube and drilling and tapping my own cases for 1/4-20 thread.







After all that work and expense, I found that I can do just as well by seating a bullet coated with Prussian blue on an empty case and putting that in the chamber to get depth to the lands.
 

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The round count between measurements will vary depending on the cartridge you use. My 6BR hasn't shown any change in just over 500 rounds but my .243 AI has grown almost .005 in the same period. Of course, any change in bullet should be remeasured,
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
jerrschmitt said:
After all that work and expense, I found that I can do just as well by seating a bullet coated with Prussian blue on an empty case and putting that in the chamber to get depth to the lands.
I used this method on my 6.5mm, but wasn't sure if it was really a good practice. If there are no adverse issues, I can continue to do it this way. I am reading at various sources that actual OAL should be this measurement minus .010-.025 depending on personal preferences and how the rifle responds?

Also, doing it this way, is it still a good idea to use a comparator? Or is that unneeded as long as I recheck the measurement if I change bullets?
 

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The actual measurement or the way it is obtained doesn't matter. It's all about the end result. Some rifle / load combinations like to be jammed into the lands and others like to be backed off .020 or so. The only way to know for sure is to start at point A (whatever that might be) and see what difference it makes. Remember that a jammed bullet will often show greater pressure than one set .010 off the lands.

In real life I think the difference in accuracy between rounds set to the optimum vs rounds set .020 off that optimum is probably less than .1 MOA. Fun to play with but not worth the effort unless you are going for the gold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
jerrschmitt said:
Fun to play with but not worth the effort unless you are going for the gold.
Well I am definitely not at that level. Still a need for a comparator, or just measure each bullet type to the tip?

..and thanks for all the info. Rifle is so much different than handgun, I'm learning the reloading all over again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Outstanding, thank you.
 

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I have the OAL gage and it took me a while to get a feel for the measuring. I found that the best COAL for me a this time is around 2.835" (for the 308 win)which fit in the magazine. I also did some with the 2.800" COAL and found that for me it didnt make much of an improvement.

Also I have a question, how does case length effect accuracy? My trim to length is 2.005", but some of my new Win brass is under that.
 

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desertdog said:
I have the OAL gage and it took me a while to get a feel for the measuring. I found that the best COAL for me a this time is around 2.835" (for the 308 win)which fit in the magazine. I also did some with the 2.800" COAL and found that for me it didnt make much of an improvement.

Also I have a question, how does case length effect accuracy? My trim to length is 2.005", but some of my new Win brass is under that.
I don't know if case length effects accuracy or not, provided all the cases are the same and within a few thousands of SAMI specs. I doubt that it matters but I've been wrong before.

One of the problems with factory barrels and magazine fed rifles is that the chambers are usually cut too long and you can't seat the bullets into the lands and still have it feed through the magazine.
 
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